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Open Access Nano Express

Photonic porous silicon as a pH sensor

Stephanie Pace1*, Roshan B Vasani1, Wei Zhao2, Sébastien Perrier23 and Nicolas H Voelcker1*

Author Affiliations

1 Mawson Institute, University of South Australia, GPO Box 247, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia

2 Key Centre for Polymer Colloids Room 351, School of Chemistry, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

3 Department of Chemistry, The University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2014, 9:420  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-9-420

Published: 21 August 2014

Abstract

Chronic wounds do not heal within 3 months, and during the lengthy healing process, the wound is invariably exposed to bacteria, which can colonize the wound bed and form biofilms. This alters the wound metabolism and brings about a change of pH. In this work, porous silicon photonic films were coated with the pH-responsive polymer poly(2-diethylaminoethyl acrylate). We demonstrated that the pH-responsive polymer deposited on the surface of the photonic film acts as a barrier to prevent water from penetrating inside the porous matrix at neutral pH. Moreover, the device demonstrated optical pH sensing capability visible by the unaided eye.

Keywords:
Porous silicon; pH-responsive polymer; RAFT polymerization; Color change sensor